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Bridge toll hike wins at ballot box

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Early reports give Regional Measure 3 fast track to passage

A boat passing beneath the Bay Bridge. Photo by Boaz Meiri/Shutterstock

Regional Measure 3, a Bay Area-wide ballot initiative with the daunting task of convincing at least half of voters in all nine Bay Area counties to raise tolls on local bridges by three dollars, appears to have won in Tuesday’s election, although election officials are still counting the votes.

Late Tuesday night the measure led with roughly 53.48 percent in favor among ballots already counted, with more than 90 percent of precincts reporting at 3 a.m.

The measure proved consistently popular in polls leading up to Tuesday, but the prospect of kicking tolls on most Bay Area bridges (sans the Golden Gate Bridge) up to $8/crossing and the Bay Bridge to $9 still seemed like it might naturally be a tough sell to commuters.

If the measure does pass, as it now appears likely to do, it’s expected to generate billions over the next ten years or so, with the money earmarked for transit improvements, including perhaps finally extending BART to San Jose.

State Senator Jim Beall, who wrote the legislation that eventually becomes Regional Measure 3, promises voters that investment in transit will eventually relieve congestion on local spans.

KQED reports that the measure proved most popular in SF, where some 64.7 percent of voters favored it, and in Santa Clara County, where it netted over 60 percent. Alameda County was tellingly less enthusiastic, but still came down in favor of the plan by 53.1 percent.

Note that the ballot count is not finished, and despite its significant lead Regional Measure 3’s passage is not yet final.